Julie de Vaan
Stimulating waste separation and recycling (Coca-Cola)
Updated: Aug 2, 2022
Since 2018, we have been helping Coca-Cola witch achieving their recycling goals by encouraging people to separate their waste and return empty packaging correctly.
Insights & advice
Most people are aware that not properly disposing their waste has negative consequences for the environment. However, the value of plastic as a renewable raw material is not yet clear to everyone. Also, not everyone realizes that plastic can only be recycled effectively if empty packaging is returned in the right way, and how important their role as a consumer is in this. That is why Coca-Cola should address the value of waste and plastic, emphasize how important it is to dispose plastic waste the right way, and clarify what the consumer's role/responsibility is in this in campaigns to raise awareness.
Whether or not people ultimately separate their waste and dispose it the right way depends on whether they have sufficient motivation to do so at the moment of choice. That is why (personal, short-term) effects and consequences of disposing plastics the right way or not must be clear. It is therefore good to emphasize what waste separation yields, especially at the moment of choice. The more personal and clear these short-term effects are made, the better.
In addition, the choice of whether or not to recycle partly depends on the feeling that this behaviour has impact and whether goals are achievable. When large organizations such as Coca-Cola show that they are committed to recycling, it gives people the feeling that they are pursuing a common goal and that recycling is useful and meaningful. That's why Coca-Cola should use its brand power to set an effective (social) norm. It also helps clearly indicate to consumers how waste should be returned and what happens to the waste after it has been returned.
Finally, for people who are less motivated to separate and recycle waste, it is important to make it as easy as possible to dispose waste correctly. Do not demand or expect too much from consumers. Therefore, make sure you offer the right facilities: sufficient, recognizable and easily accessible waste collecting points in places where people routinely throw away their plastic waste, and where it is clear which waste should be in which bin.
Summer campaign 2019
In 2019, Coca-Cola's (award winning) summer campaign 'Let's not waste this summer' is all about recycling. Based on our previous insights and advice, we ensure that Coca-Cola pushes the right buttons with this campaign to encourage people to recycle.
With the striking slogan "Don't buy Coca-Cola if you don't help us recycle", Coca-Cola emphasizes that there is an important responsibility for the consumer. But the brand also shows that it takes great responsibility itself. This gives people the feeling that they can make a big impact with their own actions combined with the efforts of large organizations. The effect measurement of the campaign shows that after seeing the campaign, people feel like Coca-Cola is responsible and takes responsibility in the field of recycling. In addition, the consumer's own sense of responsibility also increases.
Furthermore, Coca-Cola sets a clear standard in this campaign, and the common goal is emphasized. Various expressions within the campaign emphasize what is expected of people and provide more insight into the recycling process. After seeing the campaign, people have a greater sense that recycling is normal and desirable. They also get the feeling that recycling is a common goal that is achievable, and that they can also make an impact themselves. Finally, people indicate that they have a better understanding of what is expected from them with regard to recycling and why.
Based on our advice, Coca-Cola will continue to focus on recycling after the summer campaign. In the next campaign the value of plastic and empty packaging will be emphasized under the heading: “Empty also valuable”.
In addition to national awareness campaigns, Coca-Cola also wants to encourage consumers to separate waste at a local level. That is why we help Coca-Cola provide advice and develop tailor-made expressions for specific situations, including at the Radboud University, the Efteling, cinemas and festivals.
Think, for example, of statements on or around waste bins and return points, which:
Increase their recognisability, findability, clarity and convenience.
Emphasize or make visible what the effects of waste separation are.
Use the brand power of the parties involved to emphasize that the correct disposal of waste is the norm.
In order to increase the impact of these actions in the field of waste separation and recycling, we share our progress, knowledge, insights and advice with others. We do this both internally and externally, for example during OPEN Live 2020 and a panel discussion about 100% rPET in Belgium.